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COTABATO CITY – “BecomingFilipino” travel blogger and YouTube sensation Kyle Jennermann, popularly known in the Philippines as “Kulas,” visited the exposition here launched by the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

ARMM Executive Secretary, lawyer Laisa Masuhud Alamia welcomed Jennermann and fellow bloggers and BBC travel host, Michael Corey, of “Fearless and Far” on YouTube, and Mark ‘Kumar’ Yañez during their July 6 visit. She toured the bloggers to the mock cultural villages at the exposition held at the ARMM compound.

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Jennermann said he and his fellow travel bloggers were so impressed by the mock cultural villages and the rich cultures it present. He said he is always fascinated with the beauty of Mindanao and long wanted to visit the provinces under the autonomous region – Basilan,  Sulu, Tawi-Tawi, Maguindnaao and Lanao del Sur – for a special reason.

He said the exposition which showcases the cultural villages is a great avenue for others, especially foreigners, to understand the unique cultures in the ARMM. The experience he gained in visiting the cultural villages is a smooth transition from “Becoming Moro.”

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The popular blogger said his visit here showcased the way of life of the Bangsamoro people. “I think you (people of ARMM) have to continue the attitude that you have and do not be afraid to show your culture to everyone,” he said.

Jennermann said he has been to Lanao del Sur, Basilan and Maguindanao, and is still looking forward to visiting Sulu and Tawi-Tawi.

For the 32-year-old Canadian blogger, it will always be a pleasure to travel in various regions and get closer to the Filipino people. He said the reason why he came up with the monicker “BecomingFilipino” is because he wants to learn and experience how it is to be a Filipino.

Jennermann said he always admires the attitude of Filipinos for being strong, resilient, and happy despite challenges, either man-made or from natural calamities.

Corey said: “There are other interesting countries out there but the Philippines is special because Filipinos are so nice, friendly, and very outgoing.”

Learning the Moro culture through presentations in one setup is a great opportunity to communicate to non-Moro people, and even Moro people as well, what ARMM has done in a short span of time.

Jennermann has been living in the Philippines for over four years now and he featured stories online about the beauty of Mindanao through his own YouTube channel “BecomingFilipino.” He said he plans to do more feature stories on the provinces of the ARMM in the coming months.

In his Facebook page “BecomingFilipino,” Jennerman wrote: “Mike (Fearless & Far) and I saw a crowd of people forming at the “Mock Sulu Village” in Cotabato City the other night. Drawn by the incredibly catchy “barker style announcing”, we went to take a look! And then it happened…

Our arms began to raise, our bodies began to move, and next thing you know we were right in the middle of a traditional Tausug Pangalay dance celebration. This was surreal, but in so many beautiful ways! “Pangalay” actually refers to “raising and moving your arms”. I learned at the the Tawi-Tawi village that it originally comes from Badjao who used it as a form of dance to relate to the movement of waves along the ocean. Finding ourselves right in the middle of this dance experience, I was overwhelmed with emotion when locals from Sulu placed head-dress on us, and offered us shirts…

They were so proud to share this part of their culture, and have us participate with them. In fact, without their motivation and positive vibes, I am certain we would have been to scared to get involved! Can you spot the 20 peso bills in Mike’s hand!? Yes, random people would come up and place money in the hands of dancers when they enjoyed their moves…

WHAT AN EXPERIENCE! Have you ever been involved in a Pangalay before!? It was so beautiful, and something I will forever cherish experiencing here at the mock villages of the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao in Cotabato City! One day at a time, One dance with beautiful people from Sulu at a time…”

Jennermann and his friends expressed admiration to the mock villages noting they experienced different cultural presentations inside each village. They also enjoyed and tasted various delicacies of each Moro village. “I could truly say, it’s ARMMazing in ARMM,” he said. (Bureau of Public Information)


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